“Protecting communities around the world from harm and exploitation at the hands of organized crime and terrorist networks requires collective action,” said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Maria Otero. In a recent international dialogue on combating crime and terror pipelines and related threat networks, Under Secretary Otero stressed that the United States is committed to working with other governments and a wide array of partners outside government to combat these threats.
“From the FARC in Colombia to the Taliban in Afghanistan to al-Shabaab in Kenya,” said Under Secretary Otero, “we are witnessing how terrorists and insurgents turn to transnational organized crime as they finance and carry out violent acts. With each act, they intend to destabilize democratic governments and intimidate civilian populations. The same forces of globalization that have stimulated economic growth and the movement of people and goods throughout the global economy also present new opportunities that terrorists and criminals can exploit. The convergence of these criminal and terrorist threats undermines good governance, development, the rule of law, and the integrity of competitive markets.”
Terrorists and criminals also take advantage of cultures of corruption to further their illicit enterprises. Criminals and terrorists thrive where accountability falters and good governance fails. It is vital to fight corruption and empower citizens to promote transparency and accountability in their communities. The Open Government Partnership, which the United States launched with Great Britain, Brazil, and many other countries last year, is one innovative way to increase reforms around accountability and transparency so that criminal actors have less room to operate.
“As we devote more attention to the threat of crime-terror interaction,” said Under Secretary Otero, “we shrink the space in which terrorists and criminals maneuver.” It is time to redouble our efforts to enhance international cooperation to fight against these threat networks, and against those who conspire to harm our governments, our economies, and our communities.